Reed Smith Client Alerts

A series of bill signings by Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker have enacted sweeping changes to the landscape of employment law in Illinois. In addition to expansions of the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA) and the Illinois Victims’ Economic Security and Safety Act (VESSA), the newly created Workplace Transparency Act (WTA) imposes important new reporting, training, and contracting requirements. Although most changes go into effect on January 1, 2020, amendments to the Illinois Equal Pay Act (IEPA), barring consideration of applicant salary history, become effective September 29, 2019.

Below is a summary of these important changes:

Authors: Hannah L. Sorcic Adam J. Weiner

Illinois Equal Pay Act revisions

Illinois has joined a number of other states in updating its Equal Pay Act (IEPA) to restrict employers from soliciting salary history information from applicants. The amendment’s stated primary aim is to eradicate the prevalent wage gap between men and women in the workforce. The following changes will go into effect on September 29, 2019:

  • Employers are prohibited from requesting or requiring applicants to disclose prior wage, salary, benefit or other compensation history as a condition of an application process or employment.
  • Employers may not refuse to hire an applicant or take adverse action against an employee for refusing to provide information regarding their salary history.
  • Employers may ask an applicant for his or her expectations with respect to wages and benefits.
  • Even if an applicant voluntarily discloses his or her past compensation, an employer may not use that information in deciding whether to hire the applicant or in determining the applicant’s salary.
  • Employers cannot instruct employees to refrain from discussing their wages, salary, benefits or other compensation with others. However, employers may continue to prohibit human resources employees, supervisors, and other employees with access to wage or salary information from disclosing that information without the written consent of the employee whose information is sought or requested.
  • In litigation, employees seeking to demonstrate discriminatory pay disparity now have a lower burden of proof. Previously, employees were limited to comparing themselves to employees working in jobs requiring equal skill, effort and responsibility. Per the amendment, employees may compare themselves to employees working in jobs requiring substantially similar skill, effort and responsibility. 
  • Successful applicants and employees may recover injunctive relief and damages under the Act, including actual damages incurred, special damages of up to $10,000, punitive and compensatory damages, and costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees.

 Artificial Intelligence Video Interview Act 

Illinois’s new Artificial Intelligence Video Interview Act restricts employers’ ability to use artificial intelligence (AI) in analyzing job applicants. Beginning January 1, 2020, any employer that asks applicants for positions based in Illinois to record video interviews and uses an artificial intelligence analysis of the applicant-submitted videos must:

  • Notify the applicant before the interview that AI may be used to analyze the applicant.
  • Provide the applicant with information before the interview explaining how the AI works and what characteristics it uses to evaluate applicants.
  • Obtain consent from the applicant before any interview using AI.
  • Share the video only with persons whose expertise or technology is necessary to evaluate the applicant.
  • Destroy the video and any copies within 30 days of a request to do so by the applicant.